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Rediff.com  » Business » South Asia lures tourists with never-before prices

South Asia lures tourists with never-before prices

June 24, 2003 13:12 IST

A three-night trip to Thailand for Rs 15,000. Three nights in Malaysia and two nights in Singapore, along with the Delhi-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur-Delhi ticket for Rs 22,000.

A seven-night trip to Malaysia, which includes a three-night stay in Penang or Langkawi, a three-night stay at Kuala Lumpur and one night at Genting Highlands, for Rs 26,300.

Apart from the airfare and hotel charges, these include visa charges, sightseeing, surface transportation, coach tours, transfers, entrance fees and even airport taxes, besides airport transfers and breakfast in some cases.

Travel companies are bombarding customers with these "never before" packages after the travel advisories to these destinations were removed.

The initiative has been taken in order to give a boost to tourism in the region that slumped by about 80 per cent over the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome scare.

While airlines recently announced lower fares to these destinations, travel companies like Cox & Kings and SOTC are now announcing complete tour packages.

"The airlines decreased fares after the SARS scare. We then went back and renegotiated the rates for the land arrangements and have been able to offer attractive packages to the customers," Vikas Khanduri, regional manager (north India), outbound leisure travel, Cox & Kings, said.

SOTC has launched these packages under its 'Monsoon' campaign. Frederick Divecha, senior vice-president, SOTC, said: "Taking advantage of the resumption of traffic to the Far East after the travel advisories were lifted, we have introduced exciting new products at attractive prices to encourage customers to travel to the region. These will be instrumental in travel gaining momentum to these destinations."

Under SOTC's 'Pay No More' campaign, a customer can choose from a variety of holiday options, including a Far East Odyssey covering Bangkok, Pattaya and Singapore (7 days), Bangkok and Pattaya (5 days), Bangkok and Phuket (5 days) as well as an Oriental Pearls encompassing Bangkok, Pattaya, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore (9 days) at prices starting from Rs 22,000.

The Indian tourist traffic to Hong Kong had dropped by about 60-70 per cent, to Singapore by about 60 per cent and to Malaysia by about 50 per cent after the SARS scare.

The traffic was diverted to locations like Dubai, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. Even domestic tourism received a fillip because of the SARS scare.

Parul Gupta in New Delhi